José Mourinho was sacked as the Chelsea manager on Thursday afternoon because of a palpable discord with the players, according to the clubs technical director, Michael Emenalo
Jos Mourinho was sacked as the Chelsea manager on Thursday afternoon because of a palpable discord with the players according to the clubs technical director, Michael Emenalo.
Guus Hiddink is primed to return to Stamford Bridge on a caretaker basis until the end of the season and, in the longer term, the owner Roman Abramovich has designs on a clutch of managers, chief among them Diego Simeone of Atltico Madrid. There is also a long-standing interest in Bayern Munichs Pep Guardiola, together with the Italy manager, Antonio Conte.
Mourinho was dismissed in a 10-minute meeting with the chairman, Bruce Buck, and director, Eugene Tenenbaum moments after he had finished his Christmas lunch at the staffs annual party, which was attended by all the first-team squad. The most successful manager in the clubs history departed after a dismal run of Premier League form, which has seen the defending champions drop to one point above the teams in the relegation zone.
Mourinho went on the offensive after Mondays 2-1 defeat at Leicester City which was a ninth defeat in 16 league games this season when he accused some of the players of betraying his work. In effect, he had admitted they had stopped listening to him. Mourinho, who returned to the club in 2013 for a second spell, had signed a four-year contract, worth 250,000 a week, or 13m a year, in August.
Emenalo, who pointedly refused to use Mourinhos name in an interview with the clubs in-house television channel, said: The new contract signifies that what happened today was not a premeditated decision. It was a decision taken to protect the interests of the club. While there is huge sentiment for the individual, who has done so much for the club, the fact remains Chelsea football club is in trouble. The results have not been good.
There obviously seemed to be a palpable discord between manager and players and we feel it was time to act. The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club. We are one point above relegation and thats not good enough. Any fan can understand this club is in trouble and something needed to be done.
Emenalo appeared to absolve Mourinhos players of blame and laid it squarely at the feet of the manager. This is the same group of players who won the league and the League Cup last season, they did it by sweating tears and blood. They played to instruction, they adhered to everything the manager asked them to do. Its very easy to make that kind of inference [about the players] but its not one that club accepts.
We know the players have a responsibility to prove everyone wrong and to show a level of commitment to the decision thats been made to try to get the club up the table. Thats what they are were supposed to do and I believe thats what theyve been trying to do.
Chelsea are expected to confirm on Friday that Hiddink will begin his second interim stint, having taken charge for three and a half months at the end of the 2008-09 season, when he achieved excellent results and won the FA Cup. He is expected to be at Saturdays home game against Sunderland.
Chelsea would have to pay a release clause fee of 15m to prise Simeone from Atltico and he may take some persuading to leave a Champions League club for one that will almost certainly not have that to offer. Abramovich has already sounded him out. Guardiola is expected to leave Bayern at the end of the season and come to the Premier Leaguebut it is Manchester City who are the favourites to take him. He considers Chelsea to be too volatile a post.
Abramovich, who has now sacked eight managers since he took over Chelsea in 2003, had held off for as long as possible over Mourinho, and not only because he gave him a new deal before the start of the season. He desperately wanted him to build on last seasons title triumph but so bad has this season been that he knew he needed to act.
Mourinho took training as normal at the clubs Cobham headquarters on Thursday morning and at 12.30pm he sat down with the first-team squad and staff for their Christmas lunch. At 2pm Buck and Tenenbaum arrived to fire him. The pair left the training ground shortly afterwards but Mourinho stayed until 4pm to pack up his things and say his goodbyes to staff. He will in effect be placed on gardening leave, and continue to be paid his salary by Chelsea until such time as he finds another job. The Portugueses long-term assistants Rui Faria and Silvino Louro have also left the club.